Published: July 31, 2012

Piper’s roulette and a bit of razzmatazz in the Fife highlands

“Oh, no, you’ll have to pick one. It’ll take far too long if everyone wants to play in everything.” Classic. Someone asked if it was the first time this guy was tasked with running the piping at Cupar and was told, “No, he’s been doing it for about 20 years.”

Things got trickier from there. We had a situation involving three platforms, four judges, eight events (including juniors), and about 20 pipers – enough to cause complete cognitive failure and decision-making paralysis. It pretty much became a case of pipers and judges taking things into our own hands, and to be fair to the organiser, he was quite accepting of that. The judges decided who would preside over which platforms, and what events would be held where and when. The pipers explained that indeed the senior players would want to play in all the senior events and the junior players would want to play in all the junior events – and on that basis, entries were taken, entry fees paid, and draws made.

Before it was clear who was judging what, I had reckoned I would enter everything, then just withdraw from whatever Colin ended up judging. On realising that there was a £3 entry fee for each event, a revision to the plan was required – I wasn’t keen on spending £9 on entry fees for light music events I couldn’t play in. The situation was resolved: Colin would judge the piobaireachd and I was free to play in the light music.

There was a bit of a hiccup when, on finalising the draw, it was spotted that there were two players indicated to have drawn number six in the light music events. Someone pointed at the list of players and asked the organiser, “What’s that number?”

Reply: “A six.”

Next question: “What’s that one then?”

Reply: “A six.”

Crisis.

“Maybe a sixteen? Nope, there’s another sixteen. Okay, what number is missing? Got it – a nine!”

Baffling, but funny. I asked if he was going to tell the number nine (previously six) player that he had a bit longer to wait than expected, and was told, “No, it’ll be fine, he’ll just turn up early and I’m sure won’t mind waiting.” Excellent. I decided I’d better let the poor guy know.

It looked like the competitions would soon be successfully . . .

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